Netflix and Channel 4 are set to team up with Alan Bleasdale for an adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Tale Of Two Cities.
The two companies are rumoured to be in discussions on buying the rights to Bleasdale’s script from BBC Worldwide, which current holds the international rights to the drama.
Acclaimed dramatist Alan Bleasdale also wrote BBC2’s Boys From The Blackstuff and Channel 4 political drama GBH, and it’s said the Victorian drama will be produced by independent company Mammoth Screen, which was responsible for BBC and HBO mini-series Parade’s End, starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
Netflix is trying to up its drive to produce more content in association with UK broadcasters and is trying to hand-pick independent producers to create the programmes.
A Tale of Two Cities is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution and follows two men who live very different lives. As is the case with most of Dickens’ novels, it explores themes of lower and upper class battles, drawing comparisons between the two social classes.
It’s been adapted for film and TV numerous times, the first being this silent version by William Humphrey in 1911.
Traditionally, Netflix has either bought major dramas from TV networks or asks producers to exclusively produce content for the streaming service, so partnering with a national broadcaster is a new direction.
Similarly, Channel 4 reported earlier in the year that it too was looking to widen its horizons and co-produce more drama series for distribution in the US.